Administration officials are continuing to maintain that the combat mission in Iraq is over and that the 50,000 US troops in the nation, who were officially redefined so they are no longer “combat troops,” are there for training and facilitating operations.
So there are no combat operations in Iraq, despite all the combat that is still going on. But at least the US troops aren’t directly involved, except for those occasions where they are. The redefining of the Iraq War has been something of a PR success, but it hasn’t actually changed anything on the ground.
But the Pentagon is reassuring those troops that their combat pay will not be taken away from them, and that Iraq will continue to be “in the list of designated hostile fire or imminent danger pay areas” going forward.
Which is probably a relief to all of those troops still stuck in Iraq, but again underscores just how superficial this “end” of the Iraqi War has been. With officials already raising the prospect of staying in Iraq past 2011, that end is looking less certain all the time.